Sikh Dharamna Pakshma
A Review by Balwant Singh
Authors: Swami Sachidanand
Publishers: Gurjar Parkashan, 202, Tilak Raj, Panchvati First Lane, Ambavadi, Ahmedabad- 380006 (Gujarat)
Pages: 162+20; Price: Rs. 70/-
Sikh Dharmna Pakshma i.e., Favouring or on the side of Sikhism is a beautiful 182 page book published in 2010 authored by Swami Sachidanand, in Gujarati language on Sikh Gurus and Sikhism. The Swamiji is a Gujarati Hindu religious leader having quite unconventional and rationalistic views, not bound by popular traditions. He has a sizable following among Gujarati Hindus. He runs three big ashrams in Anand, Mehsana and Gandhinagar districts of Gujarat. He is a great admirer of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and does not lose an opportunity to mention supreme sacrifice of Guruji and Sahebzadas. Swamiji is a prolific writer having written 70 books, some of which have been translated into English and Hindi.
The arrangement of the book under review, Sikh Dharamna Pakshma is that it first gives general views of Swamiji on the society followed by the narration of the lives and principles propounded by the Gurus. The book is dedicated to Baba Banda Singh Bairagi “whose wonderful successes and ultimately accepted martyrdom smilingly.” The Swamiji mentions the doctrines laid down by Guru Nanak Dev especially his belief in one God and equality. He gives details of the Udasis undertaken by Guru ji. He has high praise for the concept of Miri and Piri advocated by Guru Hargobind Sahib. He highlights Shahidis of Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Teg Bahador. While discussing the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadar, Swamiji bemoans the cowardice of the people of the time. He remarks, If the whole people are submissive, religion has to take blame because it is the religion which shapes the character. If in a religion, there is no bravery there will not be martyrs among such people. The people who do not have a long list of martyrs, such people will be cowards.” Thus the narration of events in the lives of the Gurus is interspersed with carping remarks to show the degradation of the people. On the other hand, his remarks, comments and observations show deep reverence for the Sikh community.
It the very beginning of the book itself, Swamiji lays down stringent criteria for a Dharma Guru. He lists as many as 32 qualities (gunas) which a Dharma Guru must possess at least (pages 1-3). Some of the qualities he lists are belief in one God; not calling himself god or allowing puja of himself; not an ascetic renouncing wife, family; always true to duties, not renouncing arms but bearing arms; not coward covering cowardice under the velvet sheet of Ahimsa (non-violence); brave; not vowing to injustice, tyranny or cruelty; not believing in untouchability or caste system; not allowing individual worship; not having narrow religious belief, self-sacrificing to the core, turning a coward people into brave, combining knowledge with bravery, giving refuge to hapless, whose religion recognizes all as equal, and many others. Swamiji says he searched for such a Dharma Guru for sixty long years and ultimately found one in Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He tells the people to apply all the 32 qualities to Guru Gobind Singhji, and he is sure the people will find the Guruji perfect in these qualities. Swamiji devotes a major portion of the book to Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
As already mentioned, the book gives an account of the lives of the Gurus and the principles they laid down for their followers. The doctrines of Sikhism have been mentioned in a truthful and appreciative manner. At the same time, Swamiji says that the purpose of his writing the book is to make Hindu society strong. Swamiji avers that the principles followed by the Gurus and the doctrines laid down by them are relevant and can serve as a source of strength to the (Hindu) society.
The book is written in chaste Gujarati using forceful words. It is a book worth reading. Apart from a few minor discrepancies, it details the events as are commonly accepted or believed. It gives a truthful depiction of the doctrines of Sikhism. It is the first edition for which as many as 10.000 copies have been printed. In my meeting with Swamiji, he promised to bring about further editions. The second edition of 4000 copies has also been issued. The discrepancies stand removed.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2011, All